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Oracle of Delphi

Well it looks like the world will end on 9/10/08

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I guess, I will be one of the 1st to kiss my ass goodbye! :unsure:

Discovery or doom? Collider stirs debate

Chapter 2: Cutting through the hype over black holes and future benefits

By Alan Boyle

Science editor

MSNBC

updated 5:03 p.m. ET, Mon., Sept. 8, 2008

Will the Large Hadron Collider save the world, or destroy it?

As the atom-smasher at Europe's CERN research center is readied for its official startup on Wednesday, researchers might wish that the general public was captivated by the quest for the Higgs boson, the search for supersymmetric particles and even the evidence for extra dimensions.

But if the feedback so far is any guide, the real headline-grabber is the claim that the world's most powerful particle-smasher could create microscopic black holes that some fear would gobble up the planet.

The black-hole scenario is even getting its day in court: Critics of the project have called for the suspension of work on the European collider until the scenario receives a more thorough safety review, filing separate legal challenges in U.S. federal court and the European Court of Human Rights.

The strange case of the planet-eating black hole serves as just one example showing how grand scientific projects can lead to a collision between science fiction and science fact. The hubbub also has led some to question why billions of dollars are being spent on a physics experiment so removed from everyday life.

Why do it?

Michio Kaku, a theoretical physicist at the City College of New York, acknowledged that people often ask about the practical applications of particle physics. Even if physicists figure out how a particle called the Higgs boson creates the property of mass in the universe, how will that improve life on Earth?

"Sometimes the public says, 'What's in it for Numero Uno? Am I going to get better television reception? Am I going to get better Internet reception?' Well, in some sense, yeah," he said. "All the wonders of quantum physics were learned basically from looking at atom-smasher technology."

Kaku noted that past discoveries from the world of particle physics ushered in many of the innovations we enjoy today, ranging from satellite communications and handheld media players to medical PET scanners (which put antimatter to practical use).

"But let me let you in on a secret: We physicists are not driven to do this because of better color television," he added. "That's a spin-off. We do this because we want to understand our role and our place in the universe."

About those black holes ...

The black holes that may (or may not) be generated by the Large Hadron Collider would have theoretical rather than practical applications.

If the collider's detectors turn up evidence of black holes, that would suggest that gravity is stronger on a subatomic scale than it is on the distance scales scientists have been able to measure so far. That, in turn, would support the weird idea that we live in a 10- or 11-dimensional universe, with some of the dimensions rolled up so tightly that they can't be perceived.

Some theorists say the idea would explain why gravity is so much weaker than the universe's other fundamental forces — for example, why a simple magnet can match the entire Earth's gravitational force pulling on a paper clip. These theorists suggest that much of the gravitational field is "leaking out" into the extra dimensions.

"It will be extremely exciting if the LHC did produce black holes," CERN theoretical physicist John Ellis said. "OK, so some people are going to say, 'Black holes? Those big things eating up stars?' No. These are microscopic, tiny little black holes. And they’re extremely unstable. They would disappear almost as soon as they were produced."

Not everyone is convinced that the black holes would disappear. "It doesn't have to be that way," said Walter Wagner, a former radiation safety officer with a law degree who is one of the plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit. Despite a series of reassuring scientific studies, Wagner and others insist that the black holes might not fizzle out, and they fear that the mini-singularities produced by the Large Hadron Collider will fall to the center of the earth, grow larger and swallow more and more of Earth's matter.

Ellis, Kaku and a host of other physicists point out that cosmic rays in space are far more energetic than the collisions produced in the Large Hadron Collider, and do not produce the kinds of persistent black holes claimed by the critics. In the most recent report, CERN scientists rule out the globe-gobbling black holes and the other nightmares enumerated in the lawsuit, even under the most outlandish scenarios. Wagner remains unconvinced, however.

"I don't think the knowledge we are going to acquire by doing such an experiment outweighs the risk that we are taking, if we can't quantify that risk. ... We need to obtain other evidence," he said.

Article Continues: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24556999/

Edited by Pontiac Custom-S
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Cool. I love science & technology. Too bad we can't create black holes here and make Texas disappear. :)

Edited by moltar
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Hey, anything that makes Europe disappear is A.O.K. in my books!

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I watched a long show about this on the science channel a while back - fascinating.

And the physicists were visibly giddy about it all.

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Hey, anything that makes Europe disappear is A.O.K. in my books!

Don't say that we will miss ZL-1 and PCS and smk shall not have any vehicles to compare "faulty" GM brand to. :D

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I watched a long show about this on the science channel a while back - fascinating.

And the physicists were visibly giddy about it all.

I did too. They had a series of documentaries over the weekend that appeared to lead up to this (headliner was "What on Earth is Wrong with Gravity".)

I always enjoy watching them when I get the chance and actually look forward to hearing about the discoveries made from the tests with the LHC.

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Don't say that we will miss ZL-1 and PCS and smk shall not have any vehicles to compare "faulty" GM brand to. :D

:lol:

You'll have to put up with us for a while. From what I understood from the TV report this morning, what they're doing today is to try and send a beam of particles all the way around the particle accelerator. Next they try to do the same but in the opposite direction, and if the thingy is working then they'll start the collision experiments.

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Borger, just don't trip over the cord and unplug the thing.
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Interestingly, my younger brother told me about it last weekend. It is truely fascinating, and amazing that what was once the work of science fiction 20-30 years ago (black holes, lasers) is reality today.

At any rate, just reading the article makes you think the critics like Wagner are seeming to pull crazy scenarios out of their butts to scare people than actually read up facts..at least the way he is speaking. Anyway, I think there's only a 1 in 4 million chance of a black hole forming anyway.

Can you imagine if their are other dimensions? One of the possibilities was that the LHC could open up a gateway to one of these other dimensions.

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7604293.stm

Scientists have hailed a successful switch-on for an enormous experiment which will recreate the conditions a few moments after the Big Bang.

The first - clockwise - beam completed its first circuit of the underground tunnel at just before 0930 BST. The second - anti-clockwise - beam successfully circled the ring after 1400 BST.

Cern has not yet announced when it plans to carry out the first collisions, but the BBC understands that low-energy collisions could happen in the next few days.

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Haha, I read about this yesterday on CNN... this stuff is so interesting to me, I emailed the science chairperson and all the science teachers about it. They were appreciative however reminded me they teach 6th-8th grade, and this is WAY over their heads. LOL

I guess since it's not my subject area, I forget how much kids that age know (although I have a good idea with math since I always helped them on Math and French/Spanish/Italian problems at lunch when I had lunch duty).

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Can you imagine if their are other dimensions? One of the possibilities was that the LHC could open up a gateway to one of these other dimensions.

I can imagine a world where there is no war, a world where there is no strife.....

.... and I can imagine us attacking that world.... because they'd never expect it.

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I can imagine a world where there is no war, a world where there is no strife.....

.... and I can imagine us attacking that world.... because they'd never expect it.

Or a world with no religion, no Republicans... my dream world.. :)

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Hey, anything that makes Europe disappear is A.O.K. in my books!

Uh... can we leave Italy? I really like it there and uh, without it, it kinda makes my job pointless.

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Uh... can we leave Italy? I really like it there and uh, without it, it kinda makes my job pointless.

Yes! I love Italy. And also France, Switzerland and the UK. I'd love to relocate to Surrey...listen to Radiohead and enjoy the rainy, gray weather (England is kind of the anti-Phoenix..)

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You know it would serve us right if Humanity did create a mini Black Hole and it swallowed up the planet in the blink of an eye. What a fitting end to Homo Sapiens Sapiens, (Wise Man Indeed)! :smilewide:

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Replace Radiohead with Pearl Jam and move to Seattle.

I've been thinking about it... I've had a recruiter from Amazon call me a couple times in the last month. There are a lot of good tech jobs there. Ocean, mountains, green.... I know Portland pretty well, but only been to Seattle once..want to go up and explore some. And if McPalin wins in Nov, I really, really have to get out of Arizona to a blue state...

Edited by moltar
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Well I guess that means I would meet my goal of not having to put any more money into the retirement fund by the time I hit 40. It had been looking pretty bleak the last year or so.

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